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PracticePanther Legal Software

FrontRunners 2022

PracticePanther Legal Software is a legal management solution for small to large practices specializing in areas including bankruptcy, personal injury, family, divorce, estate planning, litigation, criminal law and many more. The ...Read more about PracticePanther Legal Software

4.68 (474 reviews)

143 recommendations

Clio

FrontRunners 2022

Clio is a cloud-based legal practice management solution suitable for small to large law firms. The platform enables lawfirms and other businesses in the legal industry to track important deadlines, manage client cases and documen...Read more about Clio

4.69 (1290 reviews)

126 recommendations

MyCase

FrontRunners 2022

MyCase is a cloud-based legal management solution that helps attorneys in small to medium size law firms manage communications with their clients and carry out daily business operations. The solution also provides functionalities ...Read more about MyCase

4.72 (460 reviews)

83 recommendations

CosmoLex

FrontRunners 2022

CosmoLex is a cloud-based legal management solution that offers features including time tracking, billing, trust accounting, task and document management. The solution connects all modules so that users do not have to enter i...Read more about CosmoLex

4.72 (310 reviews)

82 recommendations

Filevine

FrontRunners 2022

Filevine is the #1 most customizable legal management software. Don't waste your valuable time on a free trial – Filevine is customized to how you do business and adapts to how your team evolves. Exceptional collaboration tools e...Read more about Filevine

No reviews yet

72 recommendations

Neos

FrontRunners 2022

Neos is a powerful legal case-management platform that improves efficiency, productivity, and process optimization. Thanks to native features and robust integrations like LawPay, DocuSign, and Microsoft 365, you can win more cases...Read more about Neos

4.19 (99 reviews)

38 recommendations

Smokeball

FrontRunners 2022

Smokeball is the only cloud-based legal case management software that also runs from your desktop. Manage all of your matters with collaborative case management; customize your commonly used forms with a single click in document a...Read more about Smokeball

4.76 (189 reviews)

34 recommendations

Rocket Matter

FrontRunners 2022

Rocket Matter is a cloud-based legal billing and management solution designed to cater small and midsize law practices. It features time and billing management, calendar, document management, payments and collaboration management ...Read more about Rocket Matter

4.40 (198 reviews)

25 recommendations

Zola Suite

FrontRunners 2022

Zola Suite is a cloud-based legal practice management solution for law firms of all sizes. Key features include task management, built-in email, document management, client portals, calendar, contact management, automation, report...Read more about Zola Suite

4.64 (120 reviews)

21 recommendations

TimeSolv Legal Billing

FrontRunners 2022

TimeSolv is a cloud-based legal time tracking and billing solution that caters to law firms, accountants, consultants, architects, and freelancers, helping them manage daily business operations. TimeSolv integrates project ma...Read more about TimeSolv Legal Billing

4.73 (582 reviews)

20 recommendations

Tabs3

FrontRunners 2022

Tabs3 Software offers practice management, case management and financials for small to midsize firms in any practice area. Tabs3 enables legal professionals to manage their schedule and matters as well as track their time and bill...Read more about Tabs3

4.67 (169 reviews)

12 recommendations

Logikcull

Today, data is no longer information, but noise. In fact, 97% of all data that gets swept up in disputes and investigations is completely irrelevant. And that noise is making discovery an expensive, complex, and insecure nightmare...Read more about Logikcull

4.62 (271 reviews)

2 recommendations

Litify

Litify is the end-to-end legal operating platform that breaks down business silos to power better process, collaboration, insight, and performance. It's the only legal platform with tailored solutions for law firms, in-house leg...Read more about Litify

4.63 (38 reviews)

2 recommendations

Legal Files

For government agencies, corporations, universities and insurance companies, Legal Files legal case & matter management software centrally organizes your contacts, documents, emails, deadlines and other data. Rely on our seamless ...Read more about Legal Files

4.61 (23 reviews)

1 recommendations

Jotform

JotForm is a cloud-based form automation solution that enables users to publish online forms and record customer responses. It helps users to generate leads, collect order payments, conduct customer surveys, manage job application...Read more about Jotform

Process Street

Process Street is a modern process management platform for teams. We help teams share their core processes, then transform them into powerful no-code workflows. Start with employee onboarding to set up new hires for success, then...Read more about Process Street

AbacusLaw

FrontRunners 2022

AbacusLaw is case automation software designed explicitly for law firms. The system works as a complete practice management solution that helps in managing workflows including time tracking, billing, and accounting operations. Aba...Read more about AbacusLaw

PDFelement

PDFelement is a contract management solution that helps businesses in finance, real estate, education, hospitality and other industries create, convert, edit and sign PDF documents. It enables team members to review, comment and h...Read more about PDFelement

Quickbase

FrontRunners 2022

Quickbase is a no-code collaborative work management platform that empowers citizen developers to improve operations through real-time insights and automations across complex processes and disparate systems. Here's why Quickbase i...Read more about Quickbase

LEAP

LEAP is the legal practice productivity solution designed to help small to mid-sized law firms improve efficiency, productivity, and profitability. LEAP leverages best-in-class technology to help law firms with practice management...Read more about LEAP

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: November 30, 2022

 

Law firms face unique document management challenges. Largest among them: the very high quantity of paper documents legal practices use. Legal documents are also subject to varying confidentiality and privacy regulations, which mandate how these documents can be accessed, stored, changed and distributed.

Within the broad genre of content management software (CMS) is a category that addresses the specific challenges law firms face: legal document management software. To help your law firm better understand this software and make a more informed purchase decision, we'll cover the following:

What is legal document management software?

It is a form of document management software made specifically for lawyers, law firms, or any entity operating in the field of law. It is distinct from legal practice management software, which has a broader set of functionality, including tools to keep the firm's internal processes and external filings on time and on track.

Legal document management software is intended to help firms achieve a variety of goals. Speaking broadly, these goals include:

  • Increasing productivity by making documents easier to find, search, access, and share.
  • Improving the security and confidentiality of important documents by preventing unauthorized access.
  • Adding consistency to internal and external documents by managing all of them through a common platform.

Common functionality of legal document management software

To achieve the above-listed goals, software products will include some or all of the following features and tools:

Document capture tools Scan paper documents and convert them into digital files, including image files, PDFs, and text files.
PDF tools PDF is the file format of choice for most legal document management systems: PDF tools help create, edit, manage, and add signatures to such files.
Advanced search Helps users find documents quickly by looking for specific text strings within documents and by filtering with metadata.
Access control Controls who can access, change, and distribute digital documents. Keeps logs of access activities and summarizes them in reports.
Organizational tools Automates the documentation and management of cases, including approvals, role permissions, and other necessary steps.
Version control Ensures that changes to documents do not delete older versions, preserving them in case they need to be used again.
Integration tools Incorporate document management functionalities directly into other software tools, such as email clients, CRM systems, and court filing systems.

Some specialized software may also include, or integrate with, electronic signature functionality, which facilitates the legally-binding signing of documents on computers or mobile devices.

Key considerations

Here are some key points to keep in mind during your search for a legal document management system:

Data security: Along with health and financial information, legal information is subject to some of the strictest regulatory oversight, and its management can be subject to local, state, and federal statutes. Protecting digital information from theft and unauthorized access should be the primary concern for law firms considering implementation of a document management system.

Legal document management platforms increase data security in a number of ways. Many make use of a centralized portal through which all access to the system is controlled. Others use two-step authentication methods to ensure that new logins have been authenticated through two different means (e.g., email, phone, or text message).

Extent of digitization: When implementing legal document management software, many law offices mistakenly believe that all existing and future paper documents will be converted to digital. This incorrect assumption can lead to problems and delays down the line.

As suggested by the American Bar Association, law offices should use document management systems to increase the number of "low paper workflows." Working toward an entirely "paperless office" can be practical in some industries, but because of the sheer volume of paper documents involved, this is an impractical goal for law firms. Instead, firms should identify which processes stand to gain the most from digitization, and began with the documents associated with those.

Pricing and purchasing options

Cloud-based products are typically sold via subscription license, meaning law firms would pay a recurring fee to use the software. Subscription licenses are commonly priced per user per month (some vendors offer discounts for annual contracts). This fee includes the cost for support, maintenance, annual updates, and hosting.

Hosting on the vendor's servers means that law firms won't incur the IT costs associated with maintaining legal files on their own internal servers. As such, cloud-based software generally is less expensive upfront, although over time the costs of on-premise and cloud-based systems may converge.

Due to data security requirements, law firms should make certain that any cloud-based system they consider offers encryption services, bank-grade security, and frequent data backups to ensure the safety and confidentiality of their clients' legal documents.

On-premise solutions are most-often sold via perpetual license, meaning law offices pay an upfront fee to own the software. Firms would also be responsible for the costs associated with maintaining client data on their own internal servers, a responsibility that would likely necessitate on-site IT staff.

Additionally, law firms can purchase document management software as a standalone, or best-of-breed solution, or as an application within a larger practice management platform. Firms purchasing a standalone system should check that the product integrates with the other software they are currently using, such as their case management solution or legal accounting system.